97 Comments

Sal, this might turn out to be the most valuable thing you have ever written. BZ.

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I know next to nothing about things maritime, except having been ship's physician for National Geographic a couple of times. My knowledge of things martial is limited to some years as an ANG flight surgeon. But I love your posts and learn something every time I read them. I am a 59 year old emergency physician very anxious about the coming war. Tried to offer my services to the USNR but they were not particularly interested. I suspect when things go badly, I may receive a call. Keep up the great writing!

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Bravo Zulu!

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"... starting in 1936 when smart people in Congress saw the need for the coming war - we see nothing like that happening now."

Humm, maybe we don't have the smart people in Congress. Yeah, I think that's it.

Thanks for the reminder about the right of angary, not the truth of the state of Congress.

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I suspect if china is the aggressor their commercial ship movements will have radically changed just prior to war. Their docked ships may also get orders to scuttle to hinder our port operations.

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Thanks for this Sal. Solid work. Perhaps PLAN SALAMANDER II could add Letters of Marque to those interested in bringing vessels to CONUS from say...coastal South American waters.

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Assuming a victory, just repay the owners of the impounded with spoils. Assuming defeat, repayment is not going to be a pressing issue.

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Excellent article. Would be interested in your thoughts on issuing letters of marque in a war with China.

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This is where I think there should be an expansion of the USCG's Port security Units along with the US Navy Reserve where they can pick up VSBB missions as well. It can be a joint USNR and USCG PSU/VSBB team. Maybe at the same time, I believe the USCG should beef up the Auxiliary who often runs harbor patrols and HARPAT patrols on shore and on the water as well.

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Plan Salamander. Well, POTUS will have to ask, "Where is the Salamder?" instead of, "Where are the Carriers?" 😂

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The Chinese will see angary coming, too, and will not only try to clear out their own shipping before Der Tag, but take any measures they can to clear our waters of neutrals. Maybe direct action, maybe some distraction like hiring them away, or throwing a barbecue and all neutral ships are invited, or spreading plague in our harbors, whatever.

Intelligence, specifically Naval Intelligence, needs to keep a weather eye out and imaginations set to maximum. Similar vulns may attach to CRAF, and to anything else of a borrow-beg-steal nature.

Also, the Chinese will undoubtedly angary right back scooping up anything they can reach.

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We get to that point, and we probably will, you will find a whole bunch of retired sailors that are willing to come back in to man merchies. I may be a bit long in the tooth for combat duties, but I can still run a watch section.

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Let's do it with airlift, too!

Also begs the question, if we see Chinese-flagged or -owned cargo ships and aircraft suddenly not entering U.S. and allied ports and waters, is that indications and warnings?

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since we're still in the planning stages for this then we can also spare some time to examine the implications of removing this much shipping from commercial activity, identify what the most likely cargoes might be, and identify which ships are moving priority cargoes and perhaps should be left to go about their business, or if Chinese ships are they carrying anything really crucial that we will need to identify and lock in alternate sources? Also, since it might not be just ships that we need, is anyone familiar with the Cold War era CRAFT program that set up the possible requisition of commercial aircraft for use by the Armed Services and is it still a live program?

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You need to talk about the MSC and the Merchant Marine. The ships are often old, but they’ve got competent American sailors. Also, how many of the ships coming in will be RoRos capable of carrying Abrams tanks?

And do our merchant crews have Manpads for when the enemy helicopters in their privateeres? I know the answer to that. They have a few small arms and people with a week’s firearms training, but Stingers? Nope.

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The answer is you don't. You create a merchant marine fleet over time by producing real goods at home that the rest of the world wants to buy. You provide indirect subsidies for that fleet by building the necessary supporting infrastructure in return for ships that can easily be converted into troop carriers and supply ships manned by American crews should fighting break out.

Yes, foreign cruise ships, container ships, tankers and Ro-Ros can be commandeered and converted and reservists can be mobilized to operate them, but that would take precious time.

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